Earlier this week we met as a whole team to look at the next steps in our L.A.B. process and finalize some tasks so we could get started. At least thats why I thought we were meeting.
Demetrio and I have already done a ton of setting up our L.A.B. process this year. So far weve introduced it, developed a matrix for goal setting, defined how we apply the Agile Method to our process, and started mapping stories. In Agile for web development, we write stories to define a users experience with a website. So he and I started writing tasks lists in spreadsheets you know, like a lot of us do when were starting something new. Little did we know we were sliding into old??bad habits.
On Monday we brought our work to the team hoping to dive right in.
And no one got it.
It was so overwhelming we had to take a step back then another, and another. Frustrating to some at first,??but enlightening to everyone by the end.
Keep in mind were doing something a little crazy here:
- Were using our Agile Method for building websites, complete with all of its crazy vocabulary and software as a method to build a better business.
- Were building this method for future clients, while running it on ourselves, while writing about it as we go.
- Were executing a marketing strategy, while building a marketing strategy, while were building the L.A.B. process.
Its all very meta.
Levels, Baby, Levels
So naturally, our meeting turned into something way bigger. First, instead of getting right down to assigning tasks (which as a type A person I love doing), we had to stop and and re-define the process and vocabulary for what we are doing. That took a while, because to me a lot of the Agile vocabulary sounds convoluted and I like to keep things as simple as possible. Now Possible Success Factors became benefits and Critical Success Actions became Actions. Dont worry, Agile devotees, were building a translation list right now.
When were doing that, I raised other issues I had with the process overall. So we had to take another step back and address the stresses and concerns I, as the client and current clients have with this Method. At the beginning it all sounds so theoretical, its hard to see the value in it. But Ive seen it work so I trust it, while most people havent. Its hard as a Type A business owner to hold back the urge to jump in right away and start fixing things. How much of this theorizing and planning would we let clients in on? As much as they wanted? Probably. Definitely some bits. Were still working it out.
Then to get even more meta, we took the discussion to another level altogether to talk about why we are doing this in the first place.
Heres the reason: No one sees the whole picture of how the business works except for me. As the Product Owner, Im attempting to bring everyone together to see that big picture and allow everyone in the company to have a stake in the direction of the company. When we break apart and overlap our job descriptions and work towards a common goal a few things happen:
- People build empathy and become better citizens
- People find ways to help other
- Morale builds
Thats what the Agile Method does so well in a web build and thats why it makes sense to apply it here. I dont operate by decree, and as a B Corporation, real management transparency is important.
To recap, here are the levels of our Mega Meta Meeting in order:
- Do some stuff, and also
- Develop a model to do some stuff, and also
- Talk about who this model is for, and also
- Talk about why we are doing this at all
And guess what? Everyone agreed. Were all in it together. Already, when Im looking at my goal of retaining employees and keeping the band together, this is a good way to start.
I think were onto something here.